Curated by David Bloom
Digital Media, SVOD, Live Streaming, Snapchat
8 Biggest Digital Entertainment Stories of 2016 (So Far)
By Saba Hamedy
Live streaming, Music.ly, Snapchat copycats, SVOD overload, mobile programming, influencers on streaming sites and more.
Digital Media, Live Streaming, Publishing
Time Inc. Plans Significant Reorganization to Generate Non-Print Revenue
By Jeffrey Trachtenberg
Time Inc. plans a reorganization to generate more revenue from videos, live events and deeper collaborations with advertisers and to broaden distribution of its content including on social media platforms, people familiar with the situation say. The restructuring, which is expected shortly, comes as the magazine publisher is forecasting a revenue gain of 1% to 5% in 2016, which would be its first significant revenue improvement in five years. Time Inc. like many traditional publishers has been hit by a drop-off in print advertising revenue.
Digital Media, Publishing, Live Streaming
As Publisher Reach on Facebook Goes Down, Video Is Going Way Up
By Marty Swant
According to data compiled by SocialFlow, a social analytics company used by many major publishers, video content posted by publishers on Facebook is gaining quite a bit of traction. The company—which posts more than half a millions stories a month to Facebook and other social media channels on behalf of publishers—analyzed 30 days of video content to determine the total reach, likes and shares. And while a report last month highlighted a 42 percent drop in reach for publishers from January to May, SocialFlow found reach had grown by a factor of eight in the past month.
Anderson said he “wouldn’t be surprised” if video posts grow to account for 5 percent to 10 percent of total post volume over the next six to 12 months.
Digital Media, Publishing, Strategy
FACEBOOK’S NEWS FEED: OFTEN CHANGED, NEVER GREAT
By Om Malik for The New Yorker
The new changes to the feed suggest that Facebook is going back to its beginnings. The algorithm will now favor the personal—baby photos, vacation chronicles, and marriage albums. “We often make improvements to News Feed, and when we do, we rely on a set of core values,” Adam Mosseri, the vice-president of product management for the news feed, noted on the company blog. Those values include “Friends and Family Come First” and “A Platform for All Ideas,” and can be best summed up, minus the corporate mumbo-jumbo, as Facebook wanting to make the news feed more social. It wants it to be less of a jumble of videos, ads, and news articles. The decision to revert to the core values is a reaction to a recent decline in original sharing, a trend that has caused a lot of consternation among the Facebook brain trust. Instead of posting updates about their personal lives, users are populating the feed with links to articles from across the Web. As the “friend” circles expand, the feed becomes less intimate and leads to what Facebook insiders, according to Bloomberg, call “context collapse.”
Facebook, Publishing, Strategy
Wolff: Facebook and the media’s interests diverge
By Michael Wolff
Somehow, quite like the media’s ability to ignore the electoral anger that caused Trump and Brexit, it was also able to blindly ignore that Facebook’s interests were different from its own.
And when Facebook announced last week that it was going to downgrade news in the Facebook news feed in favor of personal ruminations and friend baby pics, there was, in Trump and Brexit fashion, a total “it can’t be” reaction from the media. Actually, it’s quite a development for the media not unlike Brexit for Britain.
Rather, the media ought to Brexit Facebook. Since Facebook is going to turn its back on publishers, publishers ought to radically and unilaterally reject Facebook. Let Facebook go dark. Take back control, in the words of the Brexiteers. And don’t ever give it up again.
Digital Media, Branded Content, Live Streaming, Social Media
Martha Stewart Wants a Steady Revenue Stream From Facebook Live
By jeffrey Trachtenberg
As Facebook Live viewers have noticed, advertising isn’t allowed on the streaming service, at least not yet. However, creators are free to integrate product placements into their videos, and Martha Stewart has done some of that. So far, brands seem to be testing the water, with a Facebook Live mention as a small part of a bigger advertising deal.
While that may pale in comparison to the size of the audience she used to have for her television program, Ms. Stewart is certain that live videos are helping some people discover her for the first time, in part because she says she’s attracting an international audience. But even more important, the live episode was shot by one camera operator with an iPhone Six Plus for a fraction of the budget for her former weekday TV show.
Digital Media, Mobile
Teens’ Ownership of Smartphones Has Surged
Penetration will approach 75% this year
Thus, for this whole age bracket, smartphone penetration will be 74.2%. That is up sharply from 2013, when just under half of this age cohort had smartphones. Still, it falls short of the figure for adult millennials, among whom upwards of nine in 10 have smartphones.
Digital Media, Blockchain
Will blockchain technologies kill off fair use?
By Peter Brantley
Creative Commons has a real world interest in blockchain. They are potentially a means of conveying license information, identifying media just as accurately as a digital fingerprint or an identifying object hash. Being able to verify that a particular image is CC-BY, and that its creator was Robert Capa, is suggestive of a future where attribution, and credit for authorial work generally, can become automated and distributed. This has particularly excited the music and photography industries, but it has broader reach. Every commercial photographer alive would rapidly adopt a technology that ensures rights tracking and assured payments as their work moves across the internet; “track and trace” technology is a glimmer in the searching eyes of IFRRO, the International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organizations.
Radical transparency — the ability to create an unbreakable chain of provenance — threatens Fair Use, a fundamental aspect of copyright that enables people to use copyrighted content without asking permission. When every use of an image, film, or text can be tracked, recorded, and verified, we fall into a world where we’ve commercialized ever more of our culture, and reduced the window of openness for everyone. By careless default, we may end up creating a massive, global, collective licensing framework whose controls are in the hands of technology firms and frameworks, over which we’ve lost the democratic control that the technology proclaims itself capable of delivering.
Digital Media, Investment, Strategy
Why Raising Too Much Money Can Harm Your Startup
By Mark Suster
…there are markets where it’s relatively easier to raise capital and therefore you should take a little bit more but you should create a budget where you only spend 70% of what you raise on a pace of 18 months.
But the bigger point I want to make is what happens when the coffers are depleted and you need more money? That is where over-raising can be corrosive. What felt great when you raised it $5 million on $20 million now feels like a noose around your neck because raising at an up-round of $8–10 million at a $40–50 million pre-money valuation is stratospherically harder than raising at a $20 million valuation.
Digital Media, Investment, Strategy
Anatomy of a unicorn: Why tech startups are staying private
Podcast by McKinsey and transcript
A bit under a third of the companies are China based, but you look at the type of companies you have there and it’s actually quite a bit different from what you would see in the US. The US tech sector tends to be a lot more, if you like, “real” tech.
Whereas what you have in the China tech sector is a lot more intimate, and a lot more, if you like, sort of reseller business models. So, companies that are providing intermediation through a service. Things like social media—e-commerce is obviously a very big issue. E-commerce in China is absolutely huge. It’s a massive market, and much, much better developed than most other countries right now, including the US.
Now that there is a substantial amount of capital aimed at the late-stage sector, that allows them to stay private for longer. In the venture-capital sector itself, you’ve got unprecedented levels of fundraising. A few hundred billion of uninvested funds sitting there, and it has to be deployed. Now, venture capital is fundamentally a bit of a cottage industry. It doesn’t scale very well. It’s all based on a small group of people searching for opportunities in a defined area, industry or geographic.
That’s put more pressure to get money into investments. But I think what’s really changed the game has been the entry of a lot of money from outside the traditional venture-capital industry. So, buyout funds looking to get into late-stage limited partners, pension funds and so forth who want to do pre-IPO investments into some of these more prestigious companies like Facebook.
Digital Media, VidCon, After The Love Has Gone
VidCon 2016: Innocence Lost?
By Peter Csathy
And yes, VidCon continues to rank amongst the most important industry events. For those of you who have never attended, it still is a “must” (for reasons I laid out in great detail in my review of my first VidCon two years ago). But, for others like me who have attended previously (especially those who have attended multiple times), it has become more like CES. An event worthy of consideration for sure (because many digital media leaders and influencers will be there and it is easy to schedule back-to-back meetings). VidCon, however, is no longer an absolute necessity for your agenda. And I wasn’t alone in that assessment. Several industry insiders whom I respect felt the same and actually left early.
The primary reason? The original VidCon “magic” was gone. VidCon version 1.0 (which still persisted two years ago) was all about serendipity and immersion into the brave new world of digital-first video content (what many then called the “YouTube Economy”).
Digital Media, Entertainment, Sports
Visionary Peter Guber’s Sports And Entertainment World
By Mike Ozanian
Got lucky to have Peter Guber on our TV show, Forbes SportsMoney, the other day. The celebrated movie producer, who is an owner in the Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Dodgers and LAFC talked passionately about the lens through which he views sports and entertainment, what an increasingly social market means for owners, and the impact Esports and virtual reality will have on the industry.
Best TV Networks of 2016 (So Far)
By Joe Adalian
The biggest trend in the TV industry so far in 2016 has, sadly, been the same as the one which shaped 2015: Viewership, for both broadcast and cable networks, continues to decline. This doesn’t mean it’s all death and despair in TV land, however. Live tune-in for TV shows is headed south, but when various on-demand platforms are included, Americans are actually consuming much more media content overall, including TV. And even as the business in general struggles to adapt to new user behaviors, individual networks are still managing to shine. In no particular order, here are five doing particularly well this year, as judged by ratings, buzz, or a combination thereof.
DB: Big Joe has forgotten more about TV than entire networks will ever know. Good breakdown on who had a good first-half run on the dial.
Social Media, Demographics Marches On
Snapchat’s Teen Fans Wince as App Catches On With Their Folks
By Yoree Koh
A recent comScore report declared that Snapchat is “breaking into the mainstream,” estimating that 38% of U.S. smartphone users ages 25 to 34 are on Snapchat, and 14% of those 35 or older. Three years ago, those numbers were 5% and 2%, respectively.
DB: Old dudes on the Snapchat. Oh, snap!
Technology, Business Climate
‘Tech tax’ proposed in San Francisco amid growing tensions over startup boom
By Marissa Kendall
A handful of San Francisco supervisors want tech companies in the city — and only tech companies — to pay extra taxes, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. The money would go toward addressing the city’s homelessness problem and the high cost of housing.
The measure, backed by three city supervisors and announced last week by Supervisor Eric Mar, would take a 1.5 percent payroll tax from tech companies’ pockets.
Technology, Business Climate, International, Advertising
The impact of Brexit is looking ‘dismal’ for the UK media sector
By Lara O’Reilly
“Brexit is upon us,” the report says, using the abbreviation for the British exit from the EU. “It promises no benefits to the UK creative sector, only offering the prospect of damage. The question is how much.”
Enders says the period of uncertainty could last as long as five years.
And when there is a period of uncertainty, advertisers tend to hold back their spend. Advertising spend is also influenced by the economy, which is expected to experience an accelerated slowdown as a result of the Brexit.
As a result, Enders has downgraded its short-term forecasts for the UK media sector.
SeaChange Pumps New Release of ‘Adrenalin’ Multiscreen Platform
By Jeff Baumgartner
Following on hints dropped earlier this month, SeaChange International has issued a new release of its multiscreen video “Adrenalin” backoffice platform that adds support for 4K/Ultra HD content, binge-watching models, and a “geographic failover” element.
Digital Video, Branded Content, Traditional Media
NBCU TEAMS WITH SABRA FOR BRANDED CONTENT STUDIO’S FIRST PARTNERSHIP
By Cate Lecuyer
Through the partnership, the videos will have access to a reach of more than 140 million unique visitors and nearly 50 million social followers from the NBCUniversal specific pages, according to the network. NBCU Content Studio will also create memes and GIFs for Sabra’s social pages, and content distribution will incorporate use of data-targeting to to reach Sabra Veggie Fusion key audiences.
Mobile, Digital Media, Publishing
Hyper, the Mic-owned app for curated videos, comes to iPhones
By Anthony Ha
Like Hyper on the iPad, the new app offers each user a daily playlist of 10 videos. According to Gilles, there are now 30 or so videos selected every day, with each user seeing a subset of 10 based on their own interests, and based on the publishers and creators they’ve subscribed to within the app. (If you’ve subscribed to a creator, you also get a notification whenever one of their videos is added to the app.)
In order to enable these offline capabilities, Hyper has also partnered with a number of publishers, including Condé Nast Entertainment (publisher of Vogue,The New Yorker, Wired and others), Refinery29, Mashable, Fusion and Elite Daily. And there will be videos from the Mic team as well.
Mobile, Digital Media, Publishing
Facebook to Shut Down ‘Paper’ News Creation and Curation App
By Juli Clover
Paper, a Flipboard competitor, consisted of a news reader that pulled content from a user’s Facebook News Feed and a variety of well-known online publications, organizing it all into a magazine-style layout with sections ranging from technology to animals. A team of editors curated the most popular online content for users and for a time, it was a popular replacement for the traditional Facebook News Feed.
Distribution, Pay TV
Sling TV adds a slew of new channels including BBC, NBC, Bravo, USA and Syfy
Sling is adding several new networks to its streaming-video roster, but restrictions remain for households that want to watch many channels at once.
By Jacob Krol
Among the new channels are popular, previously unavailable networks from the NBC and BBC family, including USA, Bravo, BBC America, Syfy and some regional Comcast Sportsnet channels. But Sling is keeping its channel offerings in two separate color-coded tiers: Sling Orange and Sling Blue.
Sling Orange, the base service, will still cost $20 per month and offer only “single-stream” service (the ability to watch one channel at any given time), for a total of 28 channels from the Disney/ESPN family. Sling Blue costs $25 for 43 networks — including those from Fox and NBC — and offers up to three simultaneous streams on different devices.
Traditional Media, Social Media, Big Data
Linear TV Tunes In To Social Media Data To Plan Campaigns
By Sarah Sluis
4C scanned social media profiles to find the viewers most likely to be interested in the upcoming movie. It looked for behavior that indicated an affinity for the genre, actors or similar movies, going on to match those users to respondent-level viewing data from Nielsen, which allowed them to extrapolate the viewing history of the group.
Turner took the segment and used its Targeting Now solution to create an optimized schedule it estimated would provide the most reach against that audience segment.
Targeting Now is designed to ingest virtually any data source, including a marketer’s first party data, and uses predictive technology to figure out who is likely to view a show or sports event.
Conferences of note
Wonder Women of Tech, July 15 and 16